A Japanese Feast for the Opening Ceremonies

It seemed at times like today would never come, but finally, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have begun! Whether or not they should be held no longer matters, because they’ve gone ahead, and as long as they Olympics are going on, I’m doing all of the things I meant to do last summer, starting with a special dinner for the Opening Ceremonies.

We started with homemade pork gyoza and rayu. I’ve made the gyoza before, but making the rayu from scratch was a new experience!

The main course was spicy ramen/udon with ajitsuke tamago (ramen eggs). The broth was made with dashi, kimchi, soy sauce, leeks, garlic, miso, gochujang, and shiitake mushrooms. It was served over spicy chicken and bacon, and topped with nori, bean sprouts, and green onions.

For dessert, I made coffee jelly:

We waited a long time to have this meal, but I think it was worth the wait!

Francis Olympic Field

Did you know that the Summer Olympic Games were once held in St. Louis?

The 1904 Olympics were supposed to be held in Chicago, but the organizers of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, also known as the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, were not thrilled about that idea. They actually began to plan their own international sports contest, forcing Pierre de Coubertin himself to step in and move the Summer Games to St. Louis. The central location for the 1904 Olympics was Francis Field, located on the campus of Washington University, and named for David R. Francis, a former governor of Missouri and president of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. (Other venues included Forest Park, Glen Echo Country Club, and Creve Coeur Lake.) Among the events contested at Francis Field in 1904 were wrestling, gymnastics, athletics, lacrosse, tug of war, and roque (the only time that sport has been an Olympic event!).

The stadium is a U.S. National Historic Landmark, but is also the current home of the Washington University Bears football team, as well as the track and field and soccer teams.

Adjacent to the field is the St. Louis Olympic Spectacular, which was unveiled in 2018:

Although there was controversy surrounding the 1904 Olympic Games (something we can definitely relate to today!), it’s still pretty cool knowing that St. Louis is one of only three U.S. cities to host the Summer Olympics!

Origami After Hours After Dark

Last night, we went back to Origami After Hours at the Missouri Botanical Garden, but this time, we arrived later, so we could see the art as it really got dark out. These are my favorite pieces to see as the sun goes down, because they’re lit really well and in beautiful places:

I wish the garden was open for just 30 minutes to an hour longer during Origami After Hours, so you could see the sculptures as it gets even darker (a challenge in summer when the sunset is so late to be sure!), because I think they’d be even more stunning!

Origami After Hours

On Thursday and Friday evenings this summer, the Missouri Botanical Garden is hosting an Origami in the Garden “Origami After Hours” event, which includes the large-scale art installation plus live music on their patio as well as a bar.

Let’s start with my two favorite pictures from the event…I loved seeing the art in a different light!

In addition to seeing the pieces in a different light, I also got to photograph many of them from different angles. We got to look at every piece other than the two in the Climatron (I don’t think seeing them after the sun starts going down would be too terribly different since they’re indoors).

I love any excuse to visit the Garden in the evening, and when there’s a special art installation, it’s even more fun! Hopefully we’ll have a chance to go back, and stay as it gets darker, because there are colored lights focused on the pieces, and I’d love to see them lit up in the night!

What We’re Reading–Tokyo 2020(1)

Ok, let’s try this again!

Last summer, we were supposed to have our quadrennial summer school focusing on the Olympics. Of course, thanks to COVID-19, the Olympics were postponed, and despite my good intentions of having a cooking-themed summer school instead, we really didn’t do a whole lot of anything, which fit in nicely with the year in general. That brings us to the summer of 2021, and the rescheduled Olympics (about which I still have doubts in every way), and come heck or high water, we’re going to learn about Japan, Tokyo, and the Summer Games!

Here’s a look at our reading list. There are old Olympic favorites and a new addition or two:

And a whole section of books about Japan in general and Tokyo in specific (plus a brief look at Japanese Americans). Some are familiar titles from past units on Asia, and some are also new:

And a section of other items, just for fun. This includes a Lego set (of course!), a game, some hands-on activities, and some TV shows and movies:

Whatever happens with the 2020(1) Olympics, and regardless of my feelings about them, I’m looking forward to a more normal summer school!

More Origami in the Garden

When we visited the Climatron at the Missouri Botanical Garden last weekend, we saw the two pieces from the “Origami in the Garden” exhibition we missed during our previous visit:

We may have seen all of the sculptures now, but there’s still one I haven’t photographed successfully…hopefully I’ll getting a better picture of it this summer, maybe even during one of the “Origami After Hours” evening events!